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Armed Forces Covenant

Universities Urged To 'Actively Consider' Signing Armed Forces Covenant

UK universities are being asked to support military veterans and their families.

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Universities are being encouraged to do more to support forces veterans and the children of service men and women who have lost their lives during duty.

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood and Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, have written a joint letter to all UK universities asking them to give their support by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

So far only 57 out of 136 UK universities have signed up to the covenant.

The Covenant aims to remove barriers faced by members of the Armed Forces Community in accessing public service.

It comes as the Department of Education confirmed £5 million in continued funding for higher education schemes in England for the armed forces. 

Speaking about the push to get more universities to sign up, Chris Skidmore said:

"We want everyone with the talent and potential, no matter their circumstances or background, to go on to university and thrive.

"Nearly 60 of our universities have signed up to delivering the Armed Forces Covenant, which provides rights for veterans and their families to access education. 

"I'm sure all universities will wish to consider the benefits of being a civic university that supports armed forces families in their communities, which is why I have written urging them all to actively consider signing up to the Covenant."

This was echoed by Defence Minister, Tobias Ellwood, who agreed that universities signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a "fantastic way" to show support for former and current servicemen and women, as well as their families:

"Thousands of businesses and organisations have already pledged to make a difference, I am pleased that so many of this country's universities have already followed in their footsteps,

"I want to make sure that all universities understand the value of supporting our armed forces and their families, and I encourage them to step up and sign our pledge."

The participation rate for young people from military service families in higher is 24%, the rate over the whole population is 43%.

Some universities have also included service children as a target group in their Access and Participation Plans.